Happy 6th Birthday, Alex

I write letters to my children on their birthdays. Here is last year’s letter to Alex.

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Dear Alex,

Happy birthday!

There is so much to celebrate about you.

You are resilient, spunky, and fun. You are creative, and love to make beautiful art for other people. You are engaged with the world around you. You love connecting with people and being helpful to others. Sometimes we get glimpses of an older version of you – like when you are so quick to help your little sister when she’s mid-meltdown.

This year you graduated from preschool. Yay! Then you jumped into kindergarten with excitement. Every day you enjoy telling us about what you did at school and who you played with at recess.

You are learning how to read and write, and are so self-motivated that we’ve barely done anything other than provide you with lots of books and paper. Car rides with you are fun because you are constantly finding signs to read out loud.

Other new things from this year – you got your ears pierced, you started really swimming, you learned how to shower all by yourself, you figured out how to ride a bike without training wheels, and you started playing soccer.

You love getting your fingernails painted, watching PJ Masks, going on family camping trips, listening to the Greatest Showman soundtrack, getting Happy Meals at McDonald’s, going on special Daddy-Daughter dates with Dad, playing with water outside, telling knock knock jokes, and hanging out at Wet N Wild.

Alex, you are a pure joy to have as my daughter. I hope this year is full of fun and growth for you. I love you a lot.

Love, Mom

Happy 9th Birthday, Aaron

I write letters to my children on their birthdays. Here is last year’s letter to Aaron.

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Happy 9th birthday, Aaron!

Um, hold on…you’re halfway to 18. I need to pause and take a breath, because that fact is blowing my mind. It wasn’t very long ago when you were born and made me a mommy. And now you’re halfway to 18.

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You wanted to celebrate your birthday with pizza, mint ice cream, and a trip to the beach. So that’s what we did.

This year you conquered the 3rd grade. You really love math, to the point of asking us if you can learn more advanced algebra. That love and skill with math comes solely from your dad, by the way. You’re transitioning to a different school next year, and though that means starting over in a new learning environment, you seem up for the challenge.

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Your favorite things to do include playing soccer, running in the waves at the beach, reading Minecraft books, folding origami, and watching Survivor. For a long time you didn’t seem interested in learning how to ride a bike. Then one day this year, you suddenly got motivated, and just started zooming down the street with no help at all. Another new thing this year was getting a family dog. Every day you wake up and feed the dog, and each night you give him a big hug before going to bed.

You make me laugh all the time with your clever insights and wordplay. Here’s my favorite joke of yours:

Q: What’s the difference between a coyote and a flea?
A: One howls on the prairie. The other prowls on the hairy.

You are becoming resourceful and independent. You can now do your own laundry (hooray!), make your own eggs for breakfast, and once made dessert for our family.

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There are so many reasons to celebrate you, Aaron. You are kind and curious. You are content and go with the flow. You’re patient and gracious with me as I learn this whole parenting thing. You are a joy to have as a son.

I love you and am grateful for you.

Love, Mom

Happy 3rd Birthday, Aria

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I write letters to my children on their birthdays. Here is last year’s letter to Aria.

Dear Aria,

Happy 3rd birthday!

We celebrated your birthday during a weekend camping retreat with our church community, with your requested dessert, cake and berries. Now, in your parlance, “I FREE! I not a baby, I a toddlah.” You have said that to friends, family, and strangers in the grocery store.

It seems like everywhere you go, you find magical moments that delight you. You are our unicorn child, spreading infectious joy around you. You hear songs, and exclaim, “Oh, I LOVE this song!” even though you haven’t heard it before. You meet a new person, and immediately call them your friend. You tell knock-knock jokes that don’t make any sense at all, yet still manage to make people burst out laughing.

You have so many things that you love. Puzzles, picking out books at the library, playing at the park, getting chased by our dog, splashing in the waves at the beach, and dancing to Michael Jackson songs.

Sometimes you run too fast and fall right onto your face. But what’s childhood without a few bloody noses and scraped knees? Keep running. I love your wild, free spirit.

My favorite thing to do with you is to give you tight squeezy hugs, kiss your chubby toddlah cheeks, and soak in the moment that I already know I’ll miss when it’s gone.

There is a special place in my heart for you, my daughter.

I love you a whole lot.

Mommy